Perhaps it's the post-graduation euphoria talking, but I think I know the next step. It is the piece of unfinished business that has been tracking me since my 20's. I think I am finally ready to do a Ph.D. It will be part-time, while I work at my full-time job, as I did for my Master's. There is a small potential technical issue with timespans that might prevent it, but beyond that, everything seems in alignment. I have a supportive advisor, who is well aware of my situation and is very patient. I have a job with flexible hours that allows me to take classes. I have a research area that I am really interested in. And, the really crucial piece that I didn't find out until last week, all of my Master's classes will carry over, which means I need only 4 more classes, an exam and a dissertation. This last bit is really important. I just couldn't see going back and taking 36 hours worth of course work. But 12 hours is doable. That's only a year, or maybe a year-and-a-half if I take it easy.
Still, even though it feels right, there's a good chance I might not make it. I couldn't do it in my 20's in Math. But I think my motivations now are different. Back then, I wanted to do a doctorate, then go into Academia like my dad, without really knowing what that meant. Back then, I couldn't get past the idea of GPA and getting the right answer on a test. Now, I'm less interested in that. This degree would be much more personal, much more about proving something to myself. I understand the academic mentality and system far better. Doing this thesis has taught me a lot, and so has my work experience. I am better now, I think, about battering away at a problem, at not being overwhelmed by a long-term project. Though it may take some time, I think I could make a contribution, even if only a small one. Well, we shall see.